Learning Strategy

4 Learning Design Mistakes And How To Fix Them

This will sound harsh, but it’s true.

The best learning experience doesn’t always win.

It stings. I’ve felt that sting many times before. I’m sure you have too. So how do we solve it?

Many factors come into play for success. There are factors beyond your control and others you did not foresee.

4 mistakes that derail your L&D work

→ Building in silo

Don’t spend 6 months in your monk temple building something that people no longer need. Or at the very least, can’t remember why they needed it in the first place.

Too many good and great L&D/HR projects have died behind closed doors.

You need to collaborate. We’re human after all.

🧰 The Fix: Run your work as a project. That means updates, visible Kanban boards, stakeholder progress meets etc. Bring structure.

→ Drop and hide

The old build a product and tell no one about it.

This is a classic L&D pitfall. Launch the best thing since sliced bread but tell no one about it. Only to bemoan why no one is using it.


Which can easily be avoided.

🧰 The Fix: Level up your marketing know-how.

Explore how to position your product for success with a structured pre, during and post-engagement plan. It will change your life.

→ Spray and pray

This one always makes me chuckle.

You build an experience because a senior leader says a team desperately needs this. You don’t talk to the end users because you take the leader’s words as truth.

You then build an experience based on this only to discover at launch, the end users have no idea why they need this.

This is what I call a spray and pray tactic.

You build something based on an assumption and hope it works. Only to be left with your time wasted and your experience in the graveyard.

🧰 The Fix: Performance consulting is the way friend.

Two things I want to share with you to help with this 👇

  1. The performance consulting cheatsheet for L&D pros (8 questions you need to ask)
  2. How to ask better stakeholder questions for solution design

→ Not solving a real problem

Ever built a solution and wondered WTF is this actually solving? Me too.

In this age of my career, the first question I ask without fail is “What are we solving for?”. It’s amazing how those five little words can change a conversation.

It causes the recipient to think deeply about whether they are seeking:

  1. A training solution aka an engagement event to make people feel good and tick a box. No performance improvement objective here
  2. A performance solution focused on enabling a skill and/or behaviour change that improves the team, business and individual.

70% of the time, I find it’s number 1.

Nothing wrong with that. Just be clear with your stakeholders on the outcome being sought.

🧰 The Fix: I’ve pretty much given you the answer already. Ask why and get super clear on it. Everything else means nothing without this.

L&D is no longer about design alone.

You might find these tweaks are the difference between a win and a loss.

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